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Where to begin… June 22, 2008

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Uncategorized.
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Well. I have been very busy these past few days, and it feels like every time I sit at a computer I have things to do, jobs to complete and bits and pieces to catch up on. So it feels like a bit of a relief that three days into the week, I can finally type up an update on the rather exciting days that have been.

I shall begin at the weekend, as it was sunny then and I had a lot of fun. The Leamington peace festival was on, a big hippy fest full of clothes stalls to drawl over, teenagers languishing on the grass in the sun, and vegan foodie delights sold in cardboard containers. It was lovely to stroll around on the grass, listening to African drum beats drifting through the air and watching little kiddies running around after giant fairy bubbles! I shall definitely return next year, especially after it looks like I might actually be based there after all. But more on that later.

Sunday came, and it was time for me to meet Ben’s dad and stepmum. I have nearly been with Ben for two years now, and we all acknowledged that this was an extremely long period of time to go without the official second half of the “meet the parents”. However, plenty of pomp and circumstance intervened (notably the boy going to hospital on the day before we were due to meet), and it only finally happened on Father’s day. We attempted to head to Warwick Castle, thinking (probably correctly) that archery display, professional dress-up and old ruins make for a typically successful fathers day activity. The drawback, however, was that the car parks were all full, and over the battered walls of the castle we could see throngs of visitors shuffling, rather that parading, the grounds. So there was no castle.

Then, after substituting the Peace festival for the surely much over hyped castle nonsense, we decided to head for dinner. After a perusal of the towns gastronomic offerings, including “The Sausage” which Cie incorrectly interpreted as selling all types of meat (it’s sells sausages), and a lovely looking restaurant called Rhubarb, where we fully expected the food to match the prices. We settled on The Bar and Grill, a nice looking restaurant where we fully expected an excellently cooked steak and some riveting conversation. The reality, as always, was far removed from this, with an empty restaurant, no starters (except for soup. Spicy soup) and their only table (us) walking out only minutes after being seated. That said, pretentious restaurants are always going to annoy people even if they do have starters – after all, why would they need to check to see if there was a table when we were the only guests?!

After this slight debacle, the group of us trooped off to Rhubarb… which was closed. Defeated by our seeming inability to chose restaurants correctly, we fell back on our reserve option, and headed resolutely towards the hotel restaurant where we assume the food would be expensive but enjoyable. We headed through the hotel entrance, to be greeted by one women, and other than her just a was of silence. The silence of Overlook Hotel in the depths of winter, or of a battlefield when all the soldiers have died or left. It was creepy, and as we settled down in the bar (which had to be opened especially for us) we all exchanged looks that perhaps predicted the culinary shambles to come. The bar itself was a sight for sore eyes. Newly decorated, it was coated in floor to ceiling black wall paper, with long black drapes and high backed Gothic black chairs. As the light streamed towards the ceiling from black glass giht fittings, bouncing off tall mirror on the way, it became clear that here was a coven waiting to happen.

We finally headed through to the restaurant, deserted aside from a lonely diner awkwardly supping in the corner. Sharing the two copies of the menu between the five of us, we chose our food and ordered, then settled back with our wine to finally try and enjoy the evening. IT was not to be, however, and the first course of black pudding and fried egg (I had smoked salmon, which, to be fair, it is hard to get wrong) was floating in oil – and the second course was even worse. Our meals were plonked before us, along with a large bowl of unpeeled, sprouing potatoes. Sprouting!! We stared at them in shock, before asking in slightl incredulous tones if the had any more. They could have at the least atempted to pretend the wee fresh potatoes! We were out of luck, however, the the travesty of a chef sliced off the sprouts and sent them back, claiming them as fresh! Combined with the large bowl of a mishmash of peas and large un peeled carrots, the meal was going downhill before we even took or first bite. Which was a mistake. The beef was white, and my stomach has paid seriously for this all week. It also tasted of fried egg, which was a surreal experience. Angered and bemused, we walked out of the restaurant in a state of incredulous shock. Again.

So, two restaurants, many bottles of wine, and a lot of astonishment later, we were finally settled in a nice reliable Slug and Lettuce, with a lovely waiter who thought we were mad. What with all the laughing and drinking, I was slightly barmy and hysterical, and had one of the best nights I have had in a long time!

To put it quite simply, it was legendary.

I apologise for the amount of time it has taken me to write this – this week has been full of end of year activities, job searches (I will fill you in on this in my next post)and more. I have barely had 10 minutes to myself to sit in front of a computer, relax and vomit (in a verbal sense) my daily happenings onto my blog for all to see. Sorry!!

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